Don't be a turkey. If a big bird is too much trouble or too much food for your needs, that's no reason to forgo a favorite Thanksgiving treat, not with all the turkey products on the market. For the "new" turkey is the ultimate convenience food -- nutritious, tasty, versatile, economical and quick-cooking.
Today there are more than 30 types of turkey products available. Boneless and bone-in turkey breasts, cutlets, steaks, tenderloins, wings and wing drumettes are popular white-meat items. Dark-meat cuts include drumsticks, thighs and hind quarters. Boneless turkey roast and ground turkey are made from a combination of white and dark meat.
No matter how important convenience and economy are, though, on Thanksgiving people prefer festive dishes. Fortunately, turkey's naturally mild flavor makes it an excellent foil for herbs, spices, sauces and other seasonings. Try apple-stuffed tenderloins, turkey rolls Florentine, hot turkey pie, turkey breast with cherry sauce and turkey rosemary.
For year-round turkey eating, substitute turkey cutlets for veal in scaloppine and schnitzel recipes. Use cubed tenderloins and steaks for sauerbraten, fondue, kebabs and curries, and boneless breasts for goulash and ragout. Mixed white- and dark-meat roasts make delicious pot roasts and bourguignon. Ground turkey is perfect in hamburgers, tacos, meatballs, lasagna, chili and spaghetti sauce. Drumsticks, thighs and wing drumettes taste good in fricassees, gumbos, creoles and soups.
Besides its versatility, turkey is one of the most healthful meats you can buy, low in saturated fats and calories. And it has the highest percentage of protein calories, 81 percent, of any meat on the market. Rich in iron, riboflavin, zinc and vitamins B-6 and B-12, turkey is a nutritional as well as a taste bargain.
With choices galore, turkey shouldn't ruffle your feathers this Thanksgiving.
THANKSGIVING TURKEY DINNER
This recipe, adapted from "The Turkey Cookbook" (Harper, 1990by New York caterer Rick Rogers, includes several traditional Thanksgiving flavors in a single dish.
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small celery rib, finely chopped
3 cups stale white bread cubes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon each sage and marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
3 pound bone-in, skin-on whole turkey breast
4 large carrots, cut into sticks
12 small white onions, peeled
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add onion and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Mix in bread, 1/4 cup broth, 1/8 cup parsley, the thyme, sage, marjoram, salt and pepper. Make a small incision in the membrane that binds the skin to the meat at the narrow end of the breast and slip your fingers underneath the skin to separate it from the meat without tearing. Spread stuffing evenly under skin. Rub remaining butter over skin. Season with salt and pepper.
Place in a shallow baking dish and pour remaining broth over. Roast in a preheated 350-degree oven 30 minutes, basting occasionally with pan juices. Arrange carrots and white onions around turkey. Continue roasting and basting until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 175 degrees, about 1 hour. Remove turkey and vegetables to a warm serving platter. Cover with foil and let stand 10 minutes before carving. Sprinkle with remaining parsley, carve and serve with gravy made from pan juices. Serves four.
1 medium apple, pared, cored and diced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup jellied cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
3 whole turkey tenderloins,* approximately 10 ounces each
1 cup cornflake crumbs or seasoned dry bread crumbs
In small saucepan combine apple, orange juice, cranberry sauce and marmalade. Cook until apple is soft but holds its shape. Slice tenderloins lengthwise, part way through, to form a pocket. Spoon some of the fruit mixture into pockets. Secure cut edge with toothpick. Dip tenderloins in egg and dredge in crumbs. Place in a casserole so that they do not touch. Bake 25-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Heat remaining fruit mixture and serve over tenderloins. Serves six. (* If you can't find turkey tenderloins, rolled turkey breast will substitute nicely.)